Thursday, November 25, 2010

Guru Story - A Story Of Commitment To Seva

The below story is an Inspirational Story for all the AOL Volunteers , Teachers and the entire world - I have just collated it for you Guys. Its a verbatim of what Rajesh Jagasia felt and wrote on his Blog. Its a story of sheer Seva and committment...!!!!

Here it is..... Written by Rajesh Bhaiya ( Jagasia)

Many moons ago, it was yet another broiling day in Benaras Hindu University and I went to meet a professor to acquaint him about the AOL activities in the campus. The professor completely in agreement with Guruji's work and His vision told me to accompany him to a tribal village nearby. I acceded to the request immediately, but little did I know that I had signed a bond of love for many many years to come.

We fixed a Sunday evening, now four years ago, placed ourselves into a vintage Mahindra jeep and it sped past the beautiful Kashi Nagari in no time. The Naugarh district pathways are very beautiful with paddy fields on both sides and ancient trees to ogle at. I was deeply mesmerized with the nature heralding herself to me after every rise and fall of the roads.

The terrain quickly changed from plain lands to thick forests, passing by us were armed posts of CRPF. Men in khakhis standing tall with Kalashnikov rifles and the eyes of a hawk. I totally unaware of any facts and figures then, only wondered why would the government spend so much money to have a vigilant CRPF post in the middle of the forest. The journey unrevealed many skirts of happiness in shapes of trees, flowers, villagers eyeing our jeep and small children shouting, playing and frolicking to mother nature.

The path had become thinner but the bushes were getting thicker. The air was fresh but there was something which whispered the rancidity of life. The Jeep stopped at a village called Aurwan Tand in front of a small hut and my mind started its journey to think – Does human life exist here? I was introduced to a very feeble, scrawny woman who was the head of the village. My refreshments included water, rice water and some sliced onions to quench my appetite.

Still oblivious to the purpose of my visit, I goggled the village with my eyes. I was totally unaware of what I was getting into. The village with 100 families wore ornamental look amidst thick trees, mountains and I like an inquisitive bird warbling away, didn't know that love at first sight had again become a reality in my life!!

The entire government seemed to be suffering from collective laryngitis and a bold initiative was required to get a small town with Kharwar, Musahar and Chero tribes out of their habitual dolor. An abject failure of policies, leadership and projects had dehydrated this tribal land.

The children wanted to be naxalites, with 400 operative naxalites amidst them, whose needs were dictated on the people around the villages. Water was a luxury and the inhabitants existed on onions and rice for life. They wept. They waited. They survived. I sat outside the hut and could not comprehend why thousands of crores of taxpayers money would not reach here. The reason was they were unaware of their rights, unaware of democratic strength and unaware of the power of prayer. The small village with many more around it seriously grieved. It was wounded. It wanted a rescue. It was waiting for a master to save it…

I immediately decided to act and do something amidst the busy traveling that I was scheduled to do for months. I wrote to Guruji asking Him for His guidance and within minutes there was a reply as short and strong as possible. He replied "Start a school there.". is words were final for me, I knew there will be a new lease of life.

With spirited encouragement and blessings of the master, I decided to take up a dilapidated school in the premises and reopen it with a new name and committed vivacity – Sri Sri Vidya Mandir. A place where education will be worshiped and where worship will be part of an education system.

Integrating an education system amongst the tribal's is a challenging and humungous task, as no one is educated, neither are they logged on to the world through the internet or the idiot box to compare, to know the laser effect of schooling. The school was quietly started with a Guru Pooja and blessings of Guruji with no funds at hand, neither any students committed to learn.

The impetus that the children had was mid day meals as many suffered from malnutrition. The delicious baked rice with some jaggery and pulses were never eaten by the children at school, however hungry and deserted their stomachs were, they took it home to share it with their parents and juniors, so that they also could breathe, for one more day. Live for today. There were many hunger deaths in that year in the village.

The school started. These three words are so easy to write now, but there were many comma's, question marks, semi-colons sometimes exclamatory mark s but never a full-stop between these three dreamy words. These days there are classes which teach how to-be a mother, how to tie a diaper etc etc, but my experience in running a school was that of a baby looking at three twin sisters, and deciding which is his real mother. The decisions had to be quick and correct, involving the village, the children, the society and the education system.

The village was riddled with Naxalism and just meters away the government had pumped in money to the tune of 100 crores to fight naxalism, cutting the branches of the problem not uprooting it. The peaceful words of the Guru carry high voltage of truth and the nature attunes itself, bows down to His eternal verities to align itself to His utterances. It happened. I saw it happyning...

With two committed teachers who decided to dedicate years of their life for this school, the school re-commissioned, the children slowly and steadily gained interest in different subjects, including chanting, Sanskrit, and we affiliated it to the National Open Schooling under the ICSE arm. Small girls and boys would wake up early morning and begin their journey, their destination some 4-5 kms away, but the dedication was deep and intense, the faith tremendous.

The day would start with folded hands to convey gratitude to the Lord, progress into the depths of science and floated upwards with spirited enthusiasm of football and volleyball. Within months 64 children were being reborn and induced with doses of maths, geography, science and our great valiant history. They wanted more, and soon there were small Dhoni's and Bhutia's giving brief appearances of hitting a four or a penalty corner on the mountain terrains of Aurwan Tand.

The blue school dress provided uniformity amongst the different caste systems prevalent, the prayers injected faith and sanskaar, the studies established the information, attitude, concepts and the love, instilled survival, care and trust. The school with no electricity, no water initially, became the great gesture of returns and seva that the society gifted to Aurwan Tand. They had dreamt. Now it was a reality.

Naxalism evaporated from this village, with many joining the mainstream, the water tap tapped our doorstep minus the water though, the CRPF took regular breaks in the evening over chai and mari biscuits and there has not been a single hunger death in over 4 years. Malnutrition melted away and we have muscular men and women in their early years to success. Set amidst the forests, the innocence of the villagers carry grace and humility. To reach this non-existent village, one has to travel 90 kms from Benares and if you can withdraw your attention from the scenic landscape, you might reach this tiny place.

With every single day, proving to be a challenge to the core yet the pillar of prosperity had been established and the sordid saga of this village and villages adjoining it, was vacuumed off by the great Guru. There are many real characters who made this sentimental series into a funny flicker. Shruti the principal, Ramavatar, Ramlal the teachers, Pavan, Anoop, Ruchi to name a handful. They were determined. They were undeterred. They were patient. Love Prevailed.

The school which we started in the Naxal prone tribal belt of Naugargh district completed its 7 years and 7 students completed their 10th Standard. Out of them 2 came first in 9 villages and a first class in UP Board. They have decided to take up science in the college in the city. A task which looked impossible some years back, with HIS grace has been so soft and easy that now we can say "it happened". Walking a step towards seva, Working for it, Worshipping and then Waiting to see the results. It works.

This was the success story of the Transformation of the Village called Aurwan Tand and the School is up and running. The School is funded by Ashram and contributions from people who wanted to make a difference in life of others.

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**Rajesh Jagasia is an IIT Mumbai Passout and is a Full Time International YES + and DSN Teacher.

His courses are not courses but magic which leaves you spellbound with enthusiasm, zing and vigour.

Note: If you want to share your Guru story with everyone... you may mail the same at